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Math Zone and The Sentence Zone, The Review by Heather Jackowitz

Bonnie Terry Learning

I really love games that reinforce my children's lessons. I checked out two games from Bonnie Terry Learning, The Math Zone and The Sentence Zone. In The Math Zone, the object is to make the most points within a set amount of turns. There are three decks of cards: an operations deck (add, subtract, multiply, or divide), a deck of low numbers for younger children, and a deck of higher numbers for older children. Number cards have two numbers on them. Players choose an operation card and a number card and perform the given task. The answer for each operation is given on the back of the number cards, and players check their own work after calculating the answer. If the answer is correct, the player scores that amount of points. If the answer is incorrect, no points are scored. Bonus operation cards mean you double your total, and Sorry operation cards mean you half your answer. About the hardest problem to solve in the low number deck would be 35 x 7. Children would also need to know their basic division facts, and how to add and subtract with regrouping. In the higher number deck, children would need to be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers like 2457 and 63. I played the game with my third grader, and she beat me a couple of times, because she kept drawing multiplication cards, and I kept getting subtraction! I also noticed that she checked her work more thoroughly than she does with her math lessons! This would be a great game for keeping up skills during summer vacation or whenever you take a break from regular math lessons.

The Sentence Zone is another fun game from the same company. There are over 500 words on color coded cards for the following categories: capital letters, articles, adjectives, nouns, pronouns, helping verbs/being verbs, verbs, adverbs, coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, prepositions, suffixes, interjections, and punctuation. The object is to score the most points: nouns and verbs are worth five points, pronouns and helping verbs are worth four points, adjectives and adverbs are worth three points, and so on. Younger students can be asked to make a subject/verb sentence, such as "The dog jumped on the boy." Older students can be asked to make more complicated sentences using dependent clauses or coordinating conjunction subjects. Definitions of the parts of speech and punctuation rules are provided with the instructions. My daughter liked this game very much and played it by herself for a long time. I encouraged her to add adjective cards to make her sentences more interesting. My first grader thought it was fun, too, and it gave him extra no-pain reading practice. The cards could be used during grammar lessons as well.

-- Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine